Coffee, tea add-ins equal extra calories: study

Champaign, IL – Add sugars, milks, creams, flavored syrups or honey to your coffee or tea, and you’re adding calories that can lead to extra pounds, a recent study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows.

Data indicates more than 51 percent of adults drink coffee daily, and almost 26 percent drink tea. Of those, approximately two-thirds of coffee drinkers and about one-third of tea drinkers use additives in their drinks.

The study, which looked at 12 years of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data ending in 2012, found that people who add items to their coffee consume an average of 69 extra calories per day, while tea drinkers who use add-ins consume 43 extra calories a day.

“These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value,” Ruopeng An, kinesiology and community health professor at the university, said in a press release.

An cautioned that although the daily intakes may seem small, the extra calories every day can lead to weight gain over time. “Our findings indicate that a lot of coffee and tea drinkers regularly use caloric add-ins to improve the flavor of their beverages, but possibly without fully realizing or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications,” he said.

The study was published online Jan. 26 in the journal Public Health.

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